Q. Thank you again for this wonderful website. My question is about the false prophet. We have been attending a series at a local church on Daniel and Revelation and the pastor who is teaching made a statement the the false prophet will be Jewish because he comes from the land rather than the sea. We would like to know your thoughts on this.
A. Rev. 13 describes two people John symbolically calls beasts, literally wild animals. The symbolism he used in describing the first beast is drawn from Daniel 7:2-7, where the leopard, bear, and lion were used to represent Babylon, Persia and Greece. Most scholars view this first beast as the anti-Christ in all his glory, indwelt by Satan (the dragon of Rev. 12:9) and so thoroughly invested with the power and authority of history’s premier gentile rulers that he soon becomes an object of worship to the unbelieving world. He has come out of the sea, which also symbolizes gentile origins.
In Rev. 13:11 we see the second beast, who has 2 horns like a lamb, but who speaks like a dragon. The horns represent authority and the reference to a lamb suggests that he appears to resemble Jesus, but the fact that he speaks like a dragon shows him to be an impostor, preaching a Satanic gospel as if it’s from the Lord. He comes from the Earth.
The opinion that he’s Jewish stems from the fact that some translations say he comes from the land, which is a secondary meaning of the Greek word for earth and is sometimes used as a euphemism for Israel. Personally I think the passage makes a much stronger case for the anti-Christ being of Gentile origins than it does for the false prophet being Jewish.